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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-06-28 05:37
Subject: [cancer] A lovely if somewhat fundamental parting gift from my chemo
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, child, health, personal
Well, the chemotherapy regimen is not going quietly into the good night. My lower GI has been even weirder and more difficult this past week than what we laughingly call normal around here.

I'm not kidding. Go away now if this stuff grosses you out. I'll still be your friend when you're gone.


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Still there? On your head be it.

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Yesterday's festivities included twelve fully productive, very loose, violently odoriferous bowel movements, and about as many again false trips to the toilet. I'd guess I spent about four to five of my waking hours in the bathroom. Shedding Day is apparently extending indefinitely. I've begun consuming probiotics in the hopes this will help my intestinal flora fight all this off. Also been eating things like oatmeal for a while, just to anchor and slow things down.

This is insane, and it's becoming seriously problematic for even everyday life tasks. When calendula_witch returned from Seattle, I was in a quiet phase, but then H— brought the_child back from an outing, and they came bearing food. By the the time we got done with the socializing, the eating had re-triggered my gut. I literally couldn't have a conversation with calendula_witch because I kept have to interrupt myself in mid-sentence, go into the bathroom, and spend 20-30 minutes there. Plus the return of the double-shot, wherein I go, finish up, exit the bathroom, and promptly have an entire new demand to return. (This has been intermittently true since the 2008 colon surgery, and I don't know if it's a signaling error, or if I have a slight kink in there somewhere, or what, but by Ghu it's annoying.)

I eventually just wanted to go to sleep, badly, but literally every time I moved I would have either deeply noxious gas (chemo farts are vile beyond belief, trust me) or the need for a return to the toilet. So the simple act of getting into bed with its associate twists and turns of the body would drive me right back out again. I wound up settled in the easy chair in the living room, still trying to talk to calendula_witch, when I realized after a while that being fully reclined and not moving was allowing my gut to settle. I could still feel the pressure, but it wasn't so demanding.

I wound up spending the night in the chair, pretty much unmoving, until I shifted my weight around 3 am, and, presto!, had to return to the toilet. Since getting up at 4:30 to exercise, I've had three productive bowel movements (two before exercise and one after), and as I write, the time is still not even 6 am.

This is a freaking nightmare. All of which is causing me to seriously consider Imodium, except Imodium makes me so damned miserably stopped up that I wind up with the reverse problem to the one I'm experiencing right now. And the comedown off Imodium is no picnic, trust me.

So I can shut it all down, but that's kind of going nuclear on my own gut to do it. Or I can just let the storm rage until it winds down on its own. I'm getting plenty of fluids, and I'm never far from the bathroom, so it's not like I can't just keep going. I had really been looking forward to a somewhat relaxing weekend, and instead I'm getting world-class GI nonsense.

This, too, shall pass. I just want it to pass a little more swiftly and gracefully.

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W. Lotus: Peaceful
User: wlotus
Date: 2010-06-28 13:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Peaceful
That sounds quite miserable. Is it that the food just passes right through you without being properly digested, or is that normal for chemo? (I'm new to your journey, and I hope you don't mind the questions.)

I hope this passes swiftly. (Well, not "12 trips to the toilet swiftly", but you know what I mean. *smiles*)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-28 13:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's pretty normal for chemo. Part of what happens is chemo damages my stomach lining, so after every infusion cycle I am shedding a lot of tissue through the digestive system in addition to what I'm actually consuming orally.

Hence the term "Shedding Day", which is usually a 1-3 day period in the week following the infusion where that's happening. There's a noticeable difference in the characteristics of the stool when I'm shedding, which has persisted through today, long past the usual endpoint.
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W. Lotus: Heart's Desire
User: wlotus
Date: 2010-06-28 13:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Heart's Desire
In that case, I shall think "happy, healthy stomach lining" thoughts for you.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-06-28 14:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I take it there's no gentler alternative to Imodium? I'm so soryr you;re having to go through this for so long.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-06-28 14:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I suspect that it's as much the letdown from the end of chemo as it is the chemo process itself. You've held on pretty solidly and tightly to keeping yourself as close to normal as possible throughout chemo--well, now chemo is done, and the body knows it can finally react without having to prepare and defend itself against another onslaught. It's a phenomenon I know well after six years of teaching because--well--my body always lets me know how much I've been deferring reactions and keeping it controlled once school is out. And it's not just me, but others...

Here's hoping for a quick, calm, and painless recovery from chemo. I suspect you're doing the right thing in eating probiotics and oatmeal. And if you're not already drinking peppermint and chamomile tea, the combo has worked for me in the past when the gut has gone nuclear (nothing like post-chemo shedding, I'm sure, but obnoxious enough as it is).
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shelly_rae: Big leaf Maple
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-06-28 17:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Big leaf Maple
Sweets. How about dividing that Immodium into 4 pieces and trying one part. Don't go postal on your GI but give it a nudge.
Take it easy.
Good on you for the yogurt.
Anon
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